Organize Your Digital Life

They say you can learn a lot about someone by the way they keep the entryway to their home. That table that holds all the junk, you know. The computer desktop is the digital equivalent of your front hallway — it sets the tone for the rest of your environment.

It would be an understatement to say we are in a time of massive change in the digital sphere — our work emails converge with our personal emails (happens to the best of us), our address books become encyclopedias, and we still have no idea where that photo is from John’s wedding.

All this is to say that we’ve been handed a lot of tools but with little knowledge on how to use them. Apple even installed a Tips app on your iPhone to try to help you keep up, but this is a fragmented approach. Today’s Genius Bars and Geek Squads have essentially become repair centers because they can’t spend time on personal training.

The reason I bring up the desktop is because it’s often the first sign of a lack of digital organization. What apps do you use for work? What folders do you reference daily? What’s your labeling and backup system for your files? I’ll give you a quick insight into the shift that changed my workflow completely:

This little icon sits on my dock and holds everything that I’m working on so when I’m out with my phone or tablet I can pull up the documents at any time. That’s because it’s actually a folder, and it syncs to my Dropbox. It’s not a revelation to have a Dropbox folder on your computer, but using it correctly is another matter entirely. And when I’m on the go, I am confident that I can call up any file by referencing my “Current” folder on my phone.

This leaves my desktop for more urgent matters: files that have not yet found a home, a spreadsheet in progress, or a recently downloaded photo. But once it finds its place, it’s off my desktop and into its proper environment. Just like the mail and packages that you might have left in the front hallway, or maybe your smelly shoes…

This is just a starting point, but an important one. Organizing your digital life involves gaining a higher point of view, deciding what truly matters, and implementing a strategy with confidence.

Long ago, astronomers used a measuring tool called an astrolabe to calculate latitude and longitude, chart planetary positions, and map the stars. In short, it provided direction and understanding to those who needed it most.

For modern peace of mind.

Robbie Klein